Friday, 2 December 2011

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Hearing and listening is not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.
Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more than hearing. It occurs when the receiver of the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as when listening to music, storytelling, television, or when being polite.
People speak at 100 to175 words per minute (WMP), but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 WPM. Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift- thinking about other things while listen to someone. The cure for this active listening- which involves listening with a purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. it requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. It takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. The following are the few traits of active listeners:
· Spend more time listening than talking.
· Do not finish the sentence of others.
· Do not answer questions with questions.
· Are aware of biases. We all have them. We need to control them.
· Never daydreams or become preoccupied with their own thoughts when others talk.
· Let the other speakers talk. Do not dominate the conversations.
· Plan responses after the other s have finished speaking, NOT while they are speaking.
· Provide feedback, but do not interrupt incessantly.
· Analyze by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended questions.
· Walk others through by summarizing.
· Keep conversation on what others say, NOT on what interests them.
· Take brief notes. This forces them to concentrate on what is being said.
When you know something, say what you know. When you don’t know something, say that you don’t know. That is knowledge. –Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius)
The purpose of feedback is to filter messages so that the intention of the original communicator is understood by the second communicator. It includes verbal and nonverbal responses to another person’s message.
Providing feedback is accomplished by paraphrasing the words of the sender. Restate the sender’s feelings; or ideas in your own words, instead of repeating their words. Your word should be saying, “This is what I understand your feelings to be, am I correct?” It not only includes verbal responses, but also nonverbal ones. Nodding your head or squeezing their hand to show agreement, dipping your eyebrows shows you don’t really understand the meaning of their last phrase, or sucking air in deeply and blowing hard shows that you are also exasperated with the situation.

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Saturday, 26 November 2011


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                                                                   LIFE: PEACEFUL LIVING
 As human beings, it is extremely difficult to be normal and sane all the time. Everyone has his moment of “temporary madness.” Indeed almost everyone has within him a wild beast that needs to be controlled.
That is why once in a while, without any justifiable reason, we become moody, aggressive, violent and irritant. Have you not seen some people who, in self induced annoyance, would drive their own cars furiously and madly as if they wanted to commit suicide? Some will bang the table, door or car as if they are at war with everybody.
Anytime you observe that someone is exhibiting trace of temporary madness, it is better you clear yourself away from him until he regain his senses and becomes sober. In the alternative, you must learn to pet him and cool him down. It is not a period of further provocation from another person.
The ability to detect in others their moment of madness and calmly respond in the situation is the secret of peaceful co-existence in the home, office, neighborhood, clubs and church societies. Sometimes we find it difficult to control our temper and live at peace with others because daily, we are faced with series of pressures and crises.
Unless one is mature and disciplined, how can one be cherry and smiling when human needs remain scarce and not at variety.  Africans live under the siege of fear and tension due to lack of health care, problem of education, fear of shelter, housing problem and fear of security from armed robbers, assassins, fraudsters and kidnappers. Other parts of the world are better skipped than mention.
Most people are tensed up and boiling over. Some have the ability to be resilence and capacity to be suffering and smiling. However, this should not be taking for granted. There is a limit to what degree of tension an individual or group can absorb. Beyond the tolerable level, the humble might burst and the dove might be turned into a hawk by circumstances.
All over the place, people are becoming generally irritated, overexcited, petulant, impatient and daring. Individuals should take caution and seek the welfare of the generality of the people by being fair, honest and considerate to all.
We find it difficult to control our temper and live wicked people (who are bound everywhere) continue to preach war when you preach love and peace. We should show love, kindness and mercy to lonely people. This is the essence of fellowship and peaceful living. After analyzing people who are epitome of love and peace, the following virtues were assembled.
· Appreciate the good in others
· Do not form the habits of finding faults in others
· Never believe in hear-says from gossips and blackmailers
· Do not poke nose into other people affairs. You may be dragged into a quarrel
· Think no evil against anybody, even to those who oppress, cheat or exploit you.
· Be righteous, humble, and honest as much as is humanly possible
· Put yourself in the positions of other people. If you do not want to be cheated, do not cheat
· Control your temper. Silence, sometimes is not only golden, but many times, the best answer for a fool
· Do not harbor grudge, or wickedness against anybody
· Always resolve all conflicts through dialogue; and
· Life is give and take; you cannot have it your own way all the time. Learn to compromise.

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